Transition and change – an interview with a Canadia‚Äčn expat

Transition to a new life

Transition, change and building a new life in another country isn’t always easy. Most importantly, it involves leaving behind friends, family and all that is familiar. Caitlin tells her expat story of moving from Canada to the UK.

What made you decide to make an expat transition?

I have always loved British history, culture, and landscape. I first came to the UK to study in first year University. As a result, I returned to pursue a Ph.D. in the History of Art. That was quite a transition itself!

Where do you currently live?

I now live in Kent where I am building a new life and going through another transition, that includes a husband and baby. Previously I lived in Western Scotland, York and London.

Transition to family life

Which other countries have you lived in? Which was your favourite and why?

Canada. I like the UK and Canada equally for different reasons. Canada will always be my home, however, England is my adopted home therefore, the place I have started a family.

What have you learned from making the transition to expat life?

You must live in the moment and don’t spend time thinking about all the things you might be missing at home. Be willing to accept that life is transition. In addition, embrace your present surroundings and accept cultural differences.

What are your least favourite things about being an expat?

Being away from family. Not being able to have my parents living close by to watch their grandchildren grow up. Having to deal with visa applications!

What are your favourite things about being an expat

Knowing I am experiencing different things that I couldn’t have if I stayed in my hometown all my life. Learning about the small funny cultural differences like different phrases like ‘lollipop’ men ha ha.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about making a transition and change to expat life?

Keep an open mind. Be prepared to be independent and adventurous. Try to get a good internet connection so you can keep in touch with family at home.

Do you feel being an expat has shaped your life in any way?

It has made me more independent and self-sufficient.

What is your favourite local dish of that country?

My favourite has to be Yorkshire pudding!!

Building a new life and going through a major transition is exciting. What did you find most challenging?

Transition and building a new life

Being away from family and friends; not feeling comfortable driving in the UK.

Any regrets or anything you would have done differently?

I would have made more of an effort to be part of the community. Similarly, to have made more friends before I got married and had a child because it makes it more difficult to get out and meet people.

A great perspective from a Canadian expat going through transition and building her new life in the UK.

Feel free to post a comment, or enjoy reading the other expat interviews on the blog.

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